Monday, June 12, 2006

(19-2) 2006 Computer Survey Results

Summary by Patrice Green

The last BGS computer survey was in 2002. Only four members were using Windows XP at that time compared to 38 XP users now. We still have about eleven people using Windows 98 or ME and a couple using Windows 2000. And we still have at least one Mac user. The average amount of RAM has increased from 183 MB to 579 MB. Hard drives averaged 25 GB in 2002 and they now range from 8 GB to 250 GB, but most are in the 60 to 80 GB range.

The speed of our computers are now anywhere between 333 MHz and 2.8 GHz; most seem to be about 2 GHz. The average in 2002 was 758 MHz. Computers have come a long way in four years. Speed seems to be very important to most of us. Over 80% of our members are using either DSL or Cable to connect to the Internet. In 2002 only nine members were using a high speed connection.

In 2002 we didn't include ISPs or email programs in the survey. Here is the current breakdown: BellSouth – 12, AOL – 11, Roadrunner – 9, Earthlink – 3 and miscellaneous – 3. AOL is the number one email program with 8 users, followed by 7 using Outlook Express. BellSouth has 5, Yahoo – 4, Thunderbird – 3, and the rest only have one or two users. Browser preferences haven't changed much; about 85% use Internet Explorer and the rest use either Firefox or Mozilla. It looks like the Netscape people from 2002 just moved over to Firefox/Mozilla. The ratio is about the same.

Word still leads the pack in word processing programs with about 31 users, but 11 of those also use other programs as well. There are 11 for Works, 8 for Word Perfect, 3 still use Lotus and of course there is Apple Works. Word Perfect has dropped and Word has gained usage.

Please note some people use more than one genealogy program. Family Tree Maker still tops the list with 20 users, followed by PAF with 15 users (Thanks Frank for all the classes!), The Master Genealogist has 3 users and Roots Magic and Legacy were reported by 2 members. There were 5 other miscellaneous programs listed.

As a group we are very well protected against Viruses. The preferred Anti-Virus program was Norton with over 55% using it. McAfee was right behind with 18%, followed by Zone Alarm at 5%. Computer Associates and AVG had one user each. Most update automatically or daily. A few didn't know. Only 15 people have Firewall Programs. Six use Norton, two use Zone Alarm (Note: there is a free version of Zone Alarm that is HIGHLY recommeded), and the rest are scattered among several companies. Several members didn't know if they had a firewall.

But, boy oh boy, do we have scanners! From the answers there were only three people without a scanner and one person who has one but doesn't use it.

All but two responders can receive attachments. Five don't have Adobe PDF. When asked for a preference between receiving an attachment or a URL we were evenly divided. Plus three that don't care and four that didn't understand.

The 2002 survey asked for an experience rating between one and ten. The average was 5.58, just a few 10's brought the average up quite a bit. This year the rating was from one to five and the average was 2.7. There were 34 people that rated themselves higher than 2. I think we've come a long way in four years – right along with the computers.


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